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Being half-Egyptian, the ongoing and unstable political situation in Egypt is extremely worrying to me. This AP article has a great short description of what’s going on, but the quote I want to talk about is this one:
The standoff between policemen and doctors suggested that Egypt’s powerful security forces may have overstepped their limits by clashing with one of the country’s most respected professions. On Friday, the Arabic hashtag “support the doctors’ syndicate” was trending on Twitter in Egypt. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a prominent local rights group, said the doctors’ assault was “a reflection of the level of police abuse of authority these days.”
Many third-world countries around the world still have very strong connotations of family honor, and Egypt is no exception to that. In the mind of Egyptian parents, there are three professions that have status: a Doctor, a Lawyer or an Engineer. For women, being a Nurse or a Teacher are considered acceptable too. There’s tremendous pressure, whether imagined or real, for kids to adhere to those aspirations to ensure a good income and support their family and their future families. Game development can luckily be argued to fall under engineering, although it’s not always accepted as such, so most kids with aspirations there simply refer to it as pure computer science.
It’s a pressure I don’t really know an equivalent for in most Western culture, but the pressure is common enough that it’s become a meme (a م?) amongst kids of Arabic descent. With how powerful memes are in spreading local culture, it seems that there might be a push to more diverse jobs and more creative jobs, which – sadly – the economical and political situation in Egypt currently does seem to not afford. The Arab Spring was largely fueled by the internet, through memes and Facebook and digital communication, and the new Egyptian regime has learned from its predecessors mistakes. I’m anxiously looking forward to an election year, and while I’m fearful that’s when things go sour, I’m hopeful Al-Sisi will do the right thing.
If you’re interested in the Egyptian revolution of 2011, I can recommend the English-subtitled Netflix documentary الميدان, which powerfully shows an on-the-ground perspective of the Egyptian revolution from the perspective of Egyptians – people speaking Arabic, living in Cairo.
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